Casts of two British children’s series, “Horrible Histories” and “Yonderland” combine to extremely local effect with a family-ish comedy of a low order about the “lost years” of the lute-playing “Bill” (Matthew Baynton). Among the comic complications of this slapdash, on-the-cheap production: a plot by Spain’s King Philip II to murder Queen Elizabeth I during the premiere of Shakespeare’s first play, “A Series of Funny Misunderstandings.” More “Carry On” or Christmas panto than Monty Python or “Blackadder,” the low humor likely struck higher notes with the groundlings of Blighty. Multiple roles are played by Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Damian Lewis, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. The director is Richard Bracewell. 94m. (Ray Pride)
“Bill” opens Friday, April 15 at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.